Many of the buildings in the Treasure Valley have their very own unique styles. There are bungalows, craftsmen, colonial and in this case, Victorian. The once home and now office that sits on the plot at 203 West Main Street is one of the most breath-taking Victorian/Queen Anne homes in the valley.
The home was built in 1892 for the Nothrop family. Nothrop happened to be the only lumber and hardware store owner in the city at the time so the cost to build this colossal sized house was surprisingly cheap, even for that time. However, Mr. Nothrop was not the only interesting person to reside in this resident. Governor James H. Hawley (1911-1913), who was also an attorney, lived In this home while he presided over our great state. Who knows, perhaps he even signed bills into laws in the parlor of this lovely home. How fitting that this residence now houses a group of attorneys who uphold and interpret Idaho law.
This home is one of the most excellent examples of Victorian/Queen Anne style in Boise. The most recognizable element of the style is the home’s wrap-around porch. The detail of the porch is one of the most beautiful features of this house; however it is not the premier feature. I believe the windows on this house are probably the finest feature of the building. Almost every window features its own stain glass design in the upper half or third of the window casement. The designs range from simple, yet stunning, to extremely complex and intriguing patterns. The roof is “gingerbread” in appearance with many gables and steep slopes. It exemplifies typical Victorian house.
203 West Main Street was remolded in 2003 to accommodate the law firm of Brazzy, Wetherell, and Crawford. As a result of this remodel, a new addition was added to the side of the building, and the interior was also rearranged to house an office instead of a family. As the remodel got underway, the firm partners specifically asked their architect and contractor to stay as true to the style as possible. However, some interior walls and windows had not been replaced, removed, or relocated. Yet, while touring the house with Mr. Brassey, I thought it is quite apparent that the architect and contractor kept the historical integrity of the building and honored the original design. In fact, so much so, I challenge you to identify where the new addition begins! When the remodel was finally completed, the contractor pointed out something very interesting to the new owners. The timbers supporting the foundation were massive and he estimated them to be easily over one hundred years old.
The law firm principals have no intention of moving, and when asked how they like the building, almost all of them responded, “I love the building.” I can certainly understand why they would want to move when the heating bill is only twenty dollars a year! This is due to the fact that 203 West Main Street sits on the warm springs that gave the area its name. The heat is one hundred percent geothermal. It is amazing to realize that this century old home is in today’s terms, green.
Though most of the people I talked with said they loved the building, there were a few who spoke with a little less enthusiasm. After twisting some arms I was able to discover why. Some of the staff are under the impression that the house is haunted. Of course this sounds ridiculous to many, but I listened to the story anyway, and it appears, in fact, the house could be haunted. The firm partners do know that in 1918 when the influenza epidemic was wreaking havoc across the United States, an eleven year old boy died in a second story bedroom. This is the soul that some of the staff believes is visiting them in the very early hours of the day and wee hours of the night when they are working overtime. Though they have not seen the boy’s apparition, they say they hear things coming form his old room and small third story. Also prior to purchasing the home, my parents, sister and I were visiting the building and talking with a renter who lived on the third floor. I remember this man saying that he had encountered the boy’s ghost on the third floor. Only a handful of the staff believes this ghost story, but the paralegal who works on the third floor is often warned, in a joking manner, to watch her back.
Yet, this house is a beautiful home and within its walls history is alive, no pun intended. Though the law firm has no intention of leaving anytime soon, I would recommend this house to anyone who might be interested the minute it comes on the real estate market. This example of Victorian/Queen Anne architecture is beautiful in every sense of the word.